as soon as the storm is over I promise to send out for you

POSTED: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:26 pm

Field a couple miles southwest of the "village."

Without a stockpile of food and the garage roof over their heads, Inferni's horses did not have the luxury of indolence. The herd roamed several miles every day, grazing on roughage and weeds and grass under a layer of snow, and much of the time Vicira spent patrolling within her territory was meant to keep tabs on her animals. While they culled the pigs and chickens and let these beasts waste away, their greatest wealth and future prospects lay in their remaining equines.

Another Aquila might have held different priorities -- but Vicira had been a horsewoman before she was a leader, and she wanted her horses to survive almost as much as she wanted the coyotes to.

While most roamed, many horses lingered closer to the makeshift corrals and the clumsy lean-tos, near their canine companions, the predatory scents that were somehow so familiar to them. Kresnik was one of these; it wasn't hard for Vici to find him when she needed to ride (while Tigana, who prioritized her food and her foal, took some time to be "caught"). When she found him today, she hauled some tack over her shoulder and led him out to the snowy marsh southwest of the tents and the caves. There she stood with him, ears pricked toward the woods, gaze expectant.

For many months now, with the interruption of war and winter, Vicira had made good on her promise to teach Nazario horsemanship. And, as she promised, much of this involved teaching him the work involved. He was shown how to clean hooves, muck stalls, brush dirty coats, and place tack. But she'd yet to teach him how to ride a horse properly, other than letting him sit on their backs when he was newly-shifted when she led them along boring trails after lessons.

Things had finally settled to the point where she could give him proper attention again, and Vicira knew that she -- and likely he -- needed the distraction.

Her eyes flicked skyward, and thinned against the middday sun.

The boy should be here soon.

Inferni
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'Souls Assemblage Luperci Multiple Co-ranks Mate to Redtooth Level III Rex Chaos Star oderint dum metuant
cinder and smoke
ash in your mouth

POSTED: Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:29 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

He would've never voiced his dissenting words again against his Aquila after that day of her announcement. Nazario simply could not bear the look of disappointment, something like betrayal in those icy eyes of Vicira, his mentor, his friend, the closest he had to a mother than anything else in this wide world, and so he wholeheartedly threw himself at the merciful heels of her plans and staunchly defended whatever decisions she made. She was the Aquila, he was merely her protégé, cut from inheritted cloth and stitched from her design.

At nights he stayed awake; or worse, had dreams about where they had hailed from, and the Great Village ablaze while he sat by helpless to stop the growing fires and the doubtless fear that had eaten Inferni whole in the coming months.

And so to distract himself, he worked. He hunted down hares, fed Adina, Merari, Boone; he helped to watch after the slimming livestock while he himself felt the stinging pang of hunger himself. Inferni would prosper. That was his priority.

The winter cold bit through his southern-blooded pelt, and he bundled up in what he could as he raced out to the fields for his lessons from Vicira, now happening with more frequency to help distract his troubled and youthful mind, and he tripped and staggered through snowbanks, weighed by ratty clothes and a bucket of tools he thought to bring - the hoof pick, the brushes, a moth-eaten blanket that still smelled of mildewed smoke and stagnation that he had salvaged from home, and when he emerged from the woodlines, it was hard to miss him with the way vapor puffed from his narrowed muzzle, features a little gaunt from the leanness of winter, enthusiastic gold eye glimmering as he continued to quickly shuffle his way out through the snow towards the ash woman there.

"I'm here- I'm here! What's the plan for today, Vicira?"

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POSTED: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:17 am

When he walked out of the trees, burdened by hide and tools, greeting her with the same enthusiasm of his youth, Vicira brightened. It was a wide, proud smile that graced her face just for Nazario, and she first approached him to relieve some of his burden and gift him with a quick hug.

Come here and saddle up Kresnik, Vici said, gesturing to the chestnut gelding who watched them patiently. He had a sooty handprint on his shoulder; since decorating him with stripes and bands for war, she'd gotten into the habit of smearing any leftover ash on her fingers onto her fire-colored mount. Truth be told, it was a display meant for Nazario too. I already checked his hooves and everything, so we'll be okay. She didn't want to waste much time.

She remained mum on the exact plan, instead folding her arms and watching Nazario as he went to work. Did you get enough to eat today? she asked. I have a little jerky on me. It's important you have your strength. Of course, she would prefer he had enough to eat every day, but that was not likely to happen. Neither did she discourage him prioritizing his milk-sister and her own puppies. The Aquila could wish all she wanted that it needn't come to that, but self-sacrifice was a good trait in moderation, as long as he didn't end up like Cartier.

Inferni
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Raze
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Multiple Co-ranks Mate to Redtooth Level III Rex Chaos Star oderint dum metuant
cinder and smoke
ash in your mouth

POSTED: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:31 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

Vicira beamed at him, and he could feel that warmth blossom in his chest, his smile intensifying tenfold, those rosy ears held aloft as his tail proceeded to wave a quick and jaunty beat as the woman reached forth to grasp some of his brought-items and wrap her arms around the youth in an embrace which he returned readily. Her instruction was quickly given, and Nazario hiked himself to the red horse, taking a moment to appreciate the soot that painted his coat, reverently tracing the handprint on his shoulder before he fetched the tack, throwing a blanket over the beast's back and gently patting his palm against that flank, if only to let Kresnik know where he was as he moved about the horse. A saddle followed suit, and Nazario cinched it quick and easy, pausing to assess his handiwork before he readjusted the buckles on that patient horse, more comfortably so, and checked with his fingers until he was certain.

There was a quick hum as he acknowledged her words, and glimpsed over in her direction, having to turn his head to best look at her on his poor side.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah, I'm fine, Vicira, don't worry 'bout me!" he assured, quick and dismissive with a crooked grin as he went to try and properly fit that bridle. "Thanks, though. I don't wanna waste it if someone's hungrier."

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Inferni